Buckingham Palace broke nearly 48 hours of silence Tuesday about a bombshell interview with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, saying “the whole royal family is saddened” and expressing concern about the issue of racism the couple had raised.
Assertions that a member of the royal family had raised concerns about the skin color of the couple’s son, Archie, and that a desperate Meghan had contemplated suicide dominated national discussion in Britain, where the interview with Oprah Winfrey was broadcast Monday evening.
On Tuesday, Piers Morgan, the co-host of “Good Morning Britain” on ITV news, who came under attack for saying he “didn’t believe a word” of the interview, resigned, the network said. Britain’s communications regulator received more than 41,000 complaints about his comment, it said.
Piers Morgan just walked off the Good Morning Britain set (!!!) after co-presenter Alex Beresford defended Harry and Meghan and condemned Piers' treatment of them in yesterday's programming pic.twitter.com/mH75J8ND4O
In the video, Thomas shared that had been diagnosed with HIV some years ago but was coming out now after an unnamed tabloid threatened to ‘blackmail’ him about his status.
The 45-year-old athlete feared “people would treat me like a leper because of a lack of knowledge,” he told the Sunday Mirror. The rugby icon said by coming out as HIV-positive, he hopes to educate others and break the stigma associated with being positive.
He’s already received encouragement from both Princes Harry and William, who shared their support via social media.
On the Instagram account for SussexRoyal, Prince Harry shared Thomas’ HIV message and praised the athlete for his strength, resiliency, and courage.
“Gareth, you are an absolute legend!,” read the post which was signed ‘H’ for Harry. “In sharing your story of being HIV+, you are saving lives and shattering stigma, by showing you can be strong and resilient while living with HIV. We should all be appalled by the way you were forced to speak your truth, it is yours and yours alone to share on your terms and I and millions stand with you.”
Prince William responded on the KensingtonRoyal Instagram account with the message, “Courageous as ever – legend on the pitch and legend off it. You have our support Gareth.” The missive was signed ‘W’ for Prince William.
The former Celebrity Big Brother star has now announced that he will collaborate with Prince Harry to address the stigma associated with HIV.
“Like me, Prince Harry wants to break the stigma around HIV and he has already done a lot of great work,” Thomas told the Sunday Mirror. “We are planning to work together now.”
He added, “To do something with him will be really powerful.”
Prince Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, was a trailblazer during the early days of the HIV epidemic promoting awareness on the condition. She was credited with changing people’s attitudes about the disease when she was photographed shaking hands with a patient during a visit to the UK’s first AIDS clinic.
“Quite often I look at that photo of Diana at the clinic next to those frail-looking men and then I look at a photo of myself out on my bike and it motivates me because I can see how things have changed and advanced,” Thomas told the Mirror.
He added, “It also makes me realise how lucky I am because I see what it was like for them and I know 30 years ago that could have been me.”
Thomas also shared he’s received calls from other UK luminaries like Elton John.
The rugby star said he had to pull off the road when he got the call from the music legend.
“He said, ‘What you are doing is a brilliant thing,’” said Thomas. “It’s really brave of you. I’ll support you all the way.”
Others expressing their support include actress Samantha Womack and Andy Bell, lead singer of Erasure.
Demonstrating the strength of his health (Thomas shared in his message that his viral load is undetectable), the ITV sportscaster followed his coming out by participating in an Iron Man event in Tenby just hours after his announcement.
He finished the grueling athletic event in 12 hours, 18 minutes and 29 seconds, coming in 413th out of 2,039 participants.
Thank you Tenby. Yesterday was not about me, it was about you, and you delivered, and some!!!i can’t write this without thanking Peter Willis and @MirrorGemma of the @DailyMirror for all their support and giving me hope in a system that took me to the edge.xx pic.twitter.com/bpIxYQo7nD
• A federal grand jury charged a pair of Dallas men with conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping and carjacking. According to the 15-count indictment, suspects used the gay dating app Grindr to create fake profiles and pose as gay men interested in “dates” to lure gay men to an apartment complex in Dallas in order to commit violent crimes against them.
• Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are the first British Royals to ‘proudly’ celebrate Pride Month on social media.
• A former West Virginia Republican official who called Michelle Obama an “ape in heels” has been sentenced to 10 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to embezzling $18,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), funds that were intended to help flood victims.
• Don’t look now but there are more naked selfies by former Congressman Aaron Schock circulating the inter webs. Whatever you do, don’t click here.
This is the most tame photo in the latest raft of Schock selfies
• I’ve been meaning to feature the oh-so-handsome blond man above for some time, but I don’t know who he is. A reader sent his pic and I was quite smitten by the good looks. Anyone know who he is? #woof #BeardCameNice
• Folks have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for a bronze plaque honoring Matthew Shepard at the Washington National Cathedral. The crypt where he lies isn’t open to the public, so folks would like to design and install a plaque in the chapel.
• Woofy Prince Harry carries on the legacy of his mother, Princess Diana, by raising awareness for HIV. Check out the new PSA as he flips the script on HIV testing saying it’s something to be proud, not embarrassed, about.
Today is the start of National HIV Testing Week and The Duke of Sussex has shared an important message.
• UK rugby legend Gareth Thomas was the victim of a hate crime by a 16-year-old in his hometown of Cardiff.
“Last night I was a victim in my home city of a hate crime for my sexuality,” Thomas told his Twitter followers. “I want to say thank you to the police, who were involved and allowed me to do restorative justice to the people that did this because I thought they could learn more that way.”
Restorative justice is a system that “that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large.”
It comes as no surprise that a champion of Thomas’ caliber would opt for the teaching experience of restorative justice. The approach is also helpful to those who are assaulted to see their assailant be held accountable.